Burnley Relegated From Premier League On Last Day Of Season


Burnley’s English defender James Tarkowski is consoled on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Newcastle United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 22, 2022.  Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Burnley were relegated from the Premier League on Sunday, the final day of the 2021/22 season.

The Clarets had to better the result of relegation rivals Leeds to extend their six-season stay in English football’s top flight.

But Burnley lost 2-1 at home to Newcastle while Leeds won 2-1 away to Brentford.

“It’s raw, we’ve got a group of players who are gutted,” Burnley interim manager Mike Jackson told the BBC.

“I don’t think there is any other word to say about that. The effort they’ve put in since we came in has been brilliant.

“Today we’ve come out on the wrong side of chasing the game. We had some really good chances but couldn’t take them.”

READ ALSOMan City Retain 2021/2022 Premier League After Aston Villa Comeback

He added: “There is a lot of emotion in it. I’m gutted for everyone involved but proud as well as I couldn’t have asked any more from them.”

Burnley kicked off outside the relegation zone, albeit they were only above Leeds on goal difference.

But they fell behind at Turf Moor to Callum Wilson’s 20th-minute penalty following Nathan Collins’s needless handball.

Wilson then doubled Newcastle’s lead on the hour when he headed in from a cross by Allan Saint-Maximin.

Burnley, who sacked long-serving manager Sean Dyche with eight games to go, pulled a goal back as Maxwel Cornet fired in a volley after his first effort had been parried by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

But that was as good as it got for the Clarets, with Leeds winning away to west London club Brentford thanks to Raphina’s second-half penalty and a goal in stoppage time from Jack Harrison.

AFP

Everton Seal Premier League Survival After Epic Escape


Crystal Palace’s French-born Ghanaian striker Jordan Ayew scores his team second goal during the English Premier League football match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on May 19, 2022. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Everton staged a dramatic fightback from two goals down to preserve their Premier League status with a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace, while Burnley climbed out of the relegation zone after a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Thursday.

Frank Lampard’s side recovered from conceding twice in the first half as Michael Keane and Richarlison netted after the break before Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late winner sparked wild celebrations at Goodison Park.

After a nerve-jangling battle to avoid playing outside the top-flight for the first time since 1954, Everton can finally relax with one game to play.

Their thrilling comeback was a microcosm of Lampard’s reign since he took over in January, with Everton staring disaster in the face before pulling back from the brink.

READ ALSO[WAFU B Tournament] Nigeria Reaches Final, Qualify For 2023 U20 AFCON

Everton are four points above the relegation zone, leaving fourth-bottom Burnley and third-bottom Leeds scrapping for survival.

Burnley, who host Newcastle in Sunday’s final round of fixtures, climbed above Leeds on goal difference thanks to their point at Villa.

They will be safe if they match Leeds’ result at Brentford on the last day.

Whatever happens at the weekend is unlikely to surpass the emotion at Goodison, where fans wept tears of joy during a frenzied post-match pitch invasion.

Once again, Everton supporters had swarmed the streets ahead of kick-off, waving blue flares and cheering the team bus when it arrived.

Palace silenced the boisterous crowed with their 21st minute opener.

Vitalii Mykolenko allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta to get in front of him and the Palace forward headed in Eberechi Eze’s free-kick.

Several bottles were thrown towards Mateta and the atmosphere turned even more toxic in the 36th minute when Jordan Ayew poked home after Abdoulaye Doucoure failed to clear.

But Lampard had labelled the game “all or nothing” and Michael Keane gave Everton a vital 54th minute lifeline, the defender applying the finishing touch from Mason Holgate’s header.

Revitalised, Everton laid seige to the Palace goal and Richarlison hooked the equaliser past Jack Butland in the 75th minute.

With Goodison at fever pitch, Dominic Calvert-Lewin completed the comeback in the 85th minute with a clinical header that sparked a jubilant pitch invasion.

 Burnley out of relegation zone

At Villa Park, Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet won a penalty on the stroke of half-time when he was bundled over by Emiliano Buendia.

Cornet had missed Burnley’s only previous penalty this season and Ashley Barnes stepped up this time, sending Emiliano Martinez the wrong way with a cool strike for his first goal since February 2021.

In the 48th minute, Buendia volleyed Villa’s equaliser from John McGinn’s cross, with Burnley protesting that a foul throw should have been given in the build-up.

Burnley finished with 10 men after Matt Lowton was sent off for a high tackle on Calum Chambers in stoppage-time.

Chelsea effectively guaranteed a third place finish with a 1-1 draw against Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

Given their vastly superior goal difference advantage over fourth placed Tottenham, who sit three points behind them, the Blues will not be caught.

After Chelsea’s painful penalty shoot-out defeat in the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday, Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle on Monday had secured a top four finish for the Blues.

James Maddison gave Leicester a sixth minute lead from the edge of the area before Marcos Alonso bagged Chelsea’s equaliser, volleying home in the 35th minute.

Thursday’s drama was only an appetiser for what will be a thrilling final day of the season.

Manchester City will be crowned champions for a fourth time in five seasons if they beat Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

But second placed Liverpool, one point behind Pep Guardiola’s team, would steal the title if City drop points and they defeat Wolves at Anfield.

In the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League, Tottenham need to a win at Norwich to be certain of pipping Arsenal, who host Everton and are two points behind their north London rivals.

Manchester United can qualify for the Europa League with a win at Palace, although they would drop into the Europa Conference League with a defeat and a West Ham victory at Brighton.

AFP

Tottenham Move Temporarily Into Top Four After Burnley Win


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Burnley at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on May 15, 2022.
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s penalty moved Tottenham into the Premier League top four as Antonio Conte’s men held their nerve to beat Burnley 1-0 on Sunday.

Spurs move two points ahead of north London rivals Arsenal, who travel to Newcastle on Monday, in the battle for fourth place.

Tottenham still need a slip up from the Gunners to return to the Champions League next season, but upped the pressure on Mikel Arteta’s men.

Defeat leaves Burnley outside the relegation zone only on goal difference with two games of the season to go.

READ ALSO: Man City Keep Title Fate In Their Hands Despite West Ham Scare

Buoyed by Thursday’s 3-0 win over Arsenal to keep the race for a place in the Champions League alive, Spurs flew out of the traps.

Kane had a goalbound header cleared off the line by Nathan Collins before Nick Pope produced the first of a string of saves by pounced on his England teammate’s header.

Burnley are only still in the fight for their place in the top flight thanks to a run of 10 points from a possible 12 in the first four games after sacking Sean Dyche.

Defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend ended that unbeaten run, but there was plenty of encouragement for the Clarets they can do enough to survive in the final week of the season.

Hugo Lloris needed to make a fine save to deny Maxwel Cornet giving the visitors the lead on 27 minutes.

However, a brave Burnley performance was undone by a stroke of misfortune deep into first half stoppage time.

Davinson Sanchez’s flick brushed off the outstretched arm of Ashley Barnes.

There was barely an appeal inside the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in real time, but the incident was picked up by VAR and given after a review.

Kane was deadly as usual from the spot as the England captain converted his 21st consecutive successful penalty.

Son Heung-min’s bid to beat Mohamed Salah to the Premier League Golden Boot was frustrated after the break by Pope.

The South Korean remains one behind Salah’s 22 league goals for the season.

Son’s near post striker was brilliantly turned behind by Pope after a flowing Spurs move.

Pope then instinctively threw up an arm to parry Son’s strike from point-blank range.

The Burnley goalkeeper’s heroics could have salvaged his side a point when Barnes struck the post from long range.

However, they left London empty handed and could end the day in the bottom three if Leeds avoid defeat at home to Brighton.

At the top of the table Manchester City can move to the brink of a fourth title in five years if they win at West Ham.

AFP

Man City Boss Guardiola, Burnley’s Dyche Test Positive For COVID-19

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola looks on from the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on August 21, 2021. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has tested positive for Covid-19 in a major outbreak at the Premier League club as Burnley also announced on Thursday that manager Sean Dyche had been sidelined by the virus.

Premier League champions City said 21 players and staff were now isolating for Covid-related reasons as the virus wreaked further havoc on English football.

“Pep Guardiola will miss tomorrow evening’s FA Cup trip to Swindon Town after testing positive for Covid-19,” the club said in a statement.

“The City manager recorded a positive test on Tuesday along with assistant Juanma Lillo. Both are now isolating, along with a number of other positive cases within the City first-team bubble.

“This brings the number of those isolating for Covid-related reasons amongst the group to 21. Of that number, 14 are backroom staff and seven are first-team players.

Despite the outbreak, the third-round FA Cup tie is still scheduled to go ahead with another of Guardiola’s assistants, Rodolfo Borrell, taking charge of the team.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has resulted in record case numbers across Britain, forcing the postponement of many matches over the past month.

City are one of the few clubs not to have had a match called off yet and they have amassed a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The first leg of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Arsenal, which had been due to take place on Thursday, was rescheduled after an outbreak forced Liverpool to close their training ground.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Star Aubameyang Tests Positive For COVID-19, Says Gabon Coach

Dyche tested positive on Tuesday, the club said in a statement.

The Premier League announced on Monday that 94 positive cases were detected on 14,250 tests carried out on players and staff between December 27 and January 2.

It was the first week-by-week decrease in positive tests since early November, with a record 103 positives recorded the previous week.

None of the 32 FA Cup third-round ties set for this weekend have yet been postponed.

Burnley-Everton Joins List Of Premier League Games Postponed By COVID-19

File photo: Everton’s Spanish manager Rafael Benítez celebrates with his players as they hold Manchester United to a draw during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 2, 2021. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) /

 

Burnley’s match at home to Everton on December 26 has become the latest Premier League fixture to be postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak, it was announced Friday.

Covid-19 cases within the Everton camp had seen the Merseysiders request a postponement on Thursday.

But that initial plea was rejected despite Everton manager Rafael Benitez saying he only had nine fit outfield players at his disposal for the fixture on Boxing Day, traditionally one of the busiest days in the English football calendar.

Everton, however, said Friday that the game had been called off, with a club statement saying: “Our Premier League fixture at Burnley on Boxing Day has been postponed due to the number of COVID cases and injuries in our squad.”

READ ALSOChelsea Star Ziyech Omitted From Morocco Cup of Nations Squad

The Premier League added it had taken the “regrettable” decision to postpone the game following a board meeting on Friday.

“The board reviewed the club’s request today to postpone the match following further injuries to their squad.

“They concluded that the club will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend as a result of an insufficient number of players available to play due to Covid-19 cases and injuries.”

A total of 13 matches have now been called off in the past two weeks as Britain battles record numbers of positive Covid cases due to the Omicron variant of the virus.

Benitez said Thursday he was “surprised” that Everton’s game had been expected to go ahead, after two other Boxing Day matches — Liverpool v Leeds and Wolves v Watford — were postponed due to Covid cases.

‘Talking to a Wall’

In this file photo taken on April 03, 2021, ex-Inter Milan’s Italian coach Antonio Conte shouts instructions during the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Inter Milan at the Renato-Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna. AFP

 

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said Thursday’s meeting between the Premier League and all 20 top-flight bosses to discuss the escalating Covid situation affecting English football’s top-flight had been a waste of time.

The virtual meeting was designed to let managers air their concerns over a congested fixture list after Premier League clubs had decided to plough on with the scheduled programme rather than pause the season.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola suggested the only way football authorities would address welfare concerns was if the players went on strike.

But with industrial action looking highly unlikely, Conte said discussions with the Premier League had been akin to talking to a wall.

“If I have to be honest, it was a meeting that we tried to speak and some coaches tried to speak, to ask about solutions but I think everything was decided,” Conte said Friday.

“I think yesterday (Thursday) it was a wall and for this reason I also prefer to not go into it.”

The Italian, asked at a news conference if the talks had been a waste of time, replied: “I think so. Because when you have a wall in front of you, you can speak and ask what you want but every decision was (already) taken.”

Spurs, who have just returned from an enforced two-week break due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the club, are due to host Crystal Palace on Sunday before they visit Southampton on Tuesday.

Norwich manager Dean Smith said it was “lunacy” to expect teams to play two matches in 48 hours in the current circumstances, with the relegation-threatened Canaries set to host Arsenal on Sunday before facing Crystal Palace on December 28.

“We have some fresh cases, but we have got others coming back,” said Smith. We are not sure how many will miss Boxing Day.

“It is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours and there has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.”

AFP

Burnley Score Late Equaliser To Frustrate Chelsea

Chelsea’s Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (2R) vies with Burnley’s English defender Charlie Taylor during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London on November 6, 2021. Tolga Akmen / AFP

 

Chelsea were held to a surprise 1-1 draw by struggling Burnley as Matej Vydra’s late equaliser rocked the Premier League leaders on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side led through Kai Havertz’s first-half header and were 11 minutes away from moving five points clear at the top before Vydra stunned Stamford Bridge into silence.

It was a brutal blow to Chelsea given their territorial dominance, but they had no response as their four-match-winning run in the league came to an end.

The Blues sit three points clear of second-placed Manchester City, who won at Manchester United earlier on Saturday.

Third-placed Liverpool can move within one point of Chelsea if they beat West Ham on Sunday.

Although Chelsea are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions, this setback underlined their lack of cutting edge without injured strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

Burnley should have been dead and buried before Vydra’s late invention.

But a fine display from Burnley keeper Nick Pope and some wasteful Chelsea finishing allowed the visitors to escape with a point.

It was just the second goal Chelsea had conceded in their last seven games in all competitions.

Tuchel will hope both Lukaku and Werner are available soon after the forthcoming international break.

Chelsea’s failure to take three points overshadowed a fine display from Ross Barkley.

Barkley, who spent last season in exile on loan at Aston Villa, has never looked at home with Chelsea since his move from Everton in 2018.

But, with Mason Mount only available from a bench after a tooth infection, the midfielder produced one of his most influential performances in a Chelsea shirt.

The 27-year-old, deployed in a ‘false nine’ role, surged towards the Burnley area and teed up Callum Hudson-Odoi for a shot that was saved by Pope before the winger fired the rebound wide.

That was the signal for a period of sustained Chelsea pressure, with Andreas Christensen glancing a header just wide.

Touchline Spat 

Burnley’s Czech striker Matej Vydra (C) celebrates with team mates after he scores his team’s opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London on November 6, 2021. Tolga Akmen / AFP

 

Jorginho threatened with a header that Pope pushed away at full-stretch, while Barkley curled narrowly wide from the edge of the area.

Barkley’s crunching foot-up challenge on Ben Mee sparked a spat between Tuchel and Sean Dyche, with the Chelsea boss jumping from his seat in a finger-pointing fury that brought an angry response from the Burnley boss before they were kept apart.

Chelsea kept pressing and Reece James’ deflected cross was clawed away for a corner by Pope.

The Blues’ dominance paid dividends in the 33rd minute.

Just moments earlier, Havertz needed treatment after tumbling over an advertising board into the Matthew Harding Stand, but the German forward was clearly unfazed by that painful landing.

N’Golo Kante picked out James down the right and the defender’s pin-point cross reached the unmarked Havertz, who thumped a clinical header past Pope for his fourth goal this season.

With Chelsea pressing for the knockout blow, Thiago Silva headed against a post from another precise James cross early in the second half.

Havertz should have landed that killer punch when he shot over after Hudson-Odoi’s cross picked him out six yards from goal.

Hudson-Odoi’s low strike was repelled by Pope and Barkley smashed over from a good position before departing to a standing ovation when he was substituted.

It was a curious decision by Tuchel given Barkley’s influence and Burnley took advantage to snatch an equaliser completely against the run of play in the 79th minute.

Matthew Lowton chested the ball down for Ashley Westwood and his cross caught the Chelsea defence napping.

Jay Rodriguez headed it back across goal for Vydra to stab home from close-range.

AFP

Liverpool Banish Burnley Ghosts In ‘Dream’ Return To Anfield

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates after he scores his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 21, 2021. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates after he scores his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 21, 2021. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s “dreams were fulfilled” as the Reds celebrated the return of a full house at Anfield by sweeping aside Burnley 2-0 on Saturday.

Goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane either side of half-time extended Liverpool’s 100 percent start to the season with six points from their opening two games.

In front of a first capacity crowd since March 2020, an emotional pre-match tribute was paid to former players who passed away over the past 17 months as well as Andrew Devine, the 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster, who died in July.

Liverpool ended a 30-year wait to win the title in the time while football was forced behind closed doors by the coronavirus pandemic.

READ ALSO: Van Dijk Signs Liverpool Contract Extension

“Everybody was really looking forward to this football fest today and nobody leaves this place with any kind of disappointment,” said Klopp. “Our dreams were fulfilled atmosphere wise.”

Burnley ended Liverpool’s 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield in the Premier League on their last visit in January, which gave way to a club record six straight home defeats for the Reds in a difficult season blighted by a series of injuries to key players.

Sean Dyche’s men are still without a point from their opening two games, compounding fears for their future in the top flight after a summer of little investment from the club’s new American owners.

“Football doesn’t judge you on whether your business is good,” said Dyche on his lack of signings. “It’s about getting players out there to win games so we’ve got to keep working hard to find that balance.”

The visitors were not shaken by the return of full stands in the opening stages as Dwight McNeil struck the post and Alisson Becker was forced to turn behind Ashley Barnes’s header at the near post.

But Dyche was frustrated at the manner in which his side conceded on 18 minutes as Kostas Tsimikas was given too much time to measure a perfect cross and Jota ran across Ben Mee to flick a header into the far corner.

Liverpool then began to find their rhythm as only a VAR review denied Mohamed Salah doubling the lead as the Egyptian had just strayed offside before blasting home Harvey Elliott’s pass.

The return of Virgil van Dijk from cruciate knee ligament damage has seen Liverpool keep two clean sheets to start the season, but they had to ride their luck at times.

James Tarkowski’s header dropped just wide after beating Alisson to a free-kick launched into the box just before the break.

Early in the second-half, Burnley did have the ball in the net only for the offside flag to this time go against them when Barnes slotted high past Alisson.

Liverpool soon regained the ascendency, though, and should have ran out even more comfortable winners.

Mane’s dip in form was another reason for the Reds’ struggles in finishing a distant third last season.

The Senegalese had passed up two big chances to net his first goal of the season before he made sure of the three points by slamming home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s perfectly measured through ball 21 minutes from time.

AFP

Liverpool Close In On Champions League Thanks To Win At Burnley

Fans clap at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 19, 2021. (Photo by GARETH COPLEY / POOL / AFP)

 

Liverpool moved into the Premier League top four for the first time since February with a 3-0 win at Burnley as Jurgen Klopp’s men remain on course to salvage a place in next season’s Champions League.

Roberto Firmino and Nathaniel Phillips struck either side of half-time before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain smashed home two minutes from time as the Reds edged ahead of Leicester on goal difference into fourth.

Victory at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday in front of the biggest crowd at Anfield since they ended a 30-year wait to become champions of England last season will almost certainly guarantee Liverpool’s place in the top four.

Leicester are four goals behind on goal difference so need to better Liverpool’s result when they host Tottenham at the King Power.

Third-placed Chelsea, who are a point ahead of both, travel to Aston Villa on the final day of the campaign.

Liverpool have now won four consecutive league games for the first time in a difficult season ravaged by injuries to key players.

 

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP) Klopp’s side needed Alisson Becker to score the first goal ever scored by a Liverpool goalkeeper to secure a dramatic late win at already-relegated West Brom on Sunday.

But despite the return of supporters to Turf Moor for the first time in 14 months, Burnley were more easily swept aside.

Liverpool would have been out of sight by half-time with more ruthless finishing as a series of clear-cut chances came and went.

Sadio Mane somehow skewed wide from point-blank range inside three minutes before Firmino also pulled an effort off target from Mane’s inventive backheel.

 

Burnley’s English defender Ben Mee reacts at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP)

 

Alisson’s charge forward at the Hawthorns proved inspired, but the Brazilian’s decision to back track to a long ball over the top nearly cost the visitors as Chris Wood blasted wide from close range.

At the other end, Thiago Alcantara dragged a shot wide after a one-two with Mohamed Salah before the Egyptian was also guilty of firing wastefully over when one-on-one with Will Norris.

The Burnley number three was making his Premier League debut and will be disappointed about the opener when it finally arrived two minutes before half-time as he did not get a strong enough foot to Firmino’s effort to keep it out.

 

Liverpool’s English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Alex Livesey / POOL / AFP) 

 

Liverpool’s English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Liverpool at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on May 19, 2021. (Photo by Martin Rickett / POOL / AFP) 

 

Liverpool had breathing space seven minutes into the second period when Philipps powered home Mane’s cross at the back post.

The 24-year-old has had to become the senior member of an inexperienced centre-back pairing in recent weeks alongside Rhys Williams with Ozan Kabak joining Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip on the sidelines.

Phillips has excelled as the season has gone on and rescued his side from a nervy finale as he cleared off the line from James Tarkowski’s looping header.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is another Liverpool player to have had an injury-disrupted season, but he came off the bench to round off the scoring when he powered home at Norris’s near post two minutes from time.

Xhaka Shocker Costs Arsenal, Southampton Halt Slump

Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka reacts during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on March 6, 2021. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP) 

 

Arsenal’s chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League look forlorn after Granit Xhaka’s error gifted Burnley a 1-1 draw on Saturday, while Southampton ended a nine-game winless run by beating Sheffield United 2-0.

The Gunners’ best hope of a return to the Champions League for the first time in five years now lies in winning the Europa League after letting two more points slip away at Turf Moor.

Mikel Arteta’s men remain in 10th, nine points adrift of the top four and with that gap certain to grow on Sunday when fourth plays fifth as Chelsea take on Everton.

“It is really complicated. I have a feeling with the way that we are playing at the moment that we can win any game,” Arteta said.

“But if you are giving something to the opponent anything can happen. This is where we have the biggest margin for improvement.”

Arsenal could not have asked for a better start as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took advantage of some sluggish defending and a slow reaction from England goalkeeper Nick Pope to squeeze home his 14th goal of the season after just six minutes.

Xhaka was stupidly sent-off when the sides last met in December in the midst of a run of one win in 10 games that gave Arsenal a mountain to climb to get back in the race for a European place.

The Swiss midfielder had another afternoon to forget as six minutes before half-time he inexplicably fired the ball into the midriff of Chris Wood and the ball ricocheted into the net off the New Zealand striker.

Arsenal should still have won the game after the break as Erik Pieters escaped one strong penalty shout for handball and then saw a red card and a penalty rescinded by a VAR review for another shot that came back off the Dutchman’s shoulder.

Dani Ceballos also hit the post in a frantic finale, but Burnley held on for a point to edge seven clear of the bottom three.

– Saints sigh of relief -Southampton are now 10 points clear of the relegation zone after easing fears they could be dragged into a battle for survival.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men topped the table in November, but a run of one point from a possible 27 had them looking over their shoulders.

However, the Championship-bound Blades proved the perfect opponents for Southampton despite losing top scorer Danny Ings to an early injury.

James Ward-Prowse’s penalty opened the scoring just after the half hour mark before Che Adams registered his first goal in 17 games with a blistering strike into the top corner on 49 minutes.

Sheffield United remain 12 points adrift of safety with just 10 more games to save themselves.

Fulham Draws 1-1 At Burnley, Now 6 Points From Safety In EPL

Fulham’s Nigerian defender Ola Aina (2L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Fulham at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on February 17, 2021. (Photo by CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Fulham missed the opportunity to close to within four points of Premier League survival as Burnley came back from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

Scott Parker’s men had breathed new life into the relegation battle with a highly impressive 2-0 win at Everton on Sunday for their first win in 13 league games.

Another victory would have had Newcastle looking over their shoulder and the visitors went in front at Turf Moor with a hint of fortune four minutes into the second-half.

Joachim Andersen attempted an audacious backheel volley from Ademola Lookman’s corner and the ball ricocheted off Ola Aina’s chest and into the net, with Robbie Brady unable to clear at the back post.

The lead lasted just three minutes as Burnley also got lucky when Ashley Barnes’s miscontrol wrongfooted Alphonse Areola and allowed the striker an easier finish.

A point narrows Newcastle’s advantage over the bottom three to six points, while Burnley remain eight points clear of the drop zone and edge up to 15th.

Manchester City are in action later on Wednesday when they travel to Everton aiming to extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.

EPL: Tuchel Wins First Match As Chelsea Coach

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Marcos Alonso is mobbed by teammates after scoring his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London on January 31, 2021. Julian Finney / POOL / AFP

 

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first goal of the Thomas Tuchel era and forgotten man Marcos Alonso produced a stunning finish as dominant Chelsea earned a 2-0 win against toothless Burnley on Sunday.

The former Paris Saint-German boss was brought in to replace Frank Lampard last week with a brief to haul stuttering Chelsea back into the race for Champions League spots.

He endured a frustrating goalless stalemate against Wolves at Stamford Bridge in midweek and Burnley also promised to be awkward opponents before fading as the match wore on.

Tuchel’s team dominated the encounter, limiting Burnley to a single attempt on goal but struggled to break them down.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Stumble Again In Arsenal Stalemate

But two moments of magic from Azpilicueta and Alonso mean the German now has four points from six after two matches at the helm.

The result lifts Chelsea to seventh in the Premier League, just four points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who are in action later on Sunday.

Sean Dyche’s Burnley started brightly, enjoying plenty of possession and finding space but failed to test Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal.

The home side took time to settle into a rhythm but as the first-half wore on they started to dominate and created a number of chances.

The recalled Alonso misdirected a header while Mason Mount and the out-of-form Timo Werner missed presentable chances.

Chelsea’s English midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi controls the ball as they defend a corner during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge in London on January 31, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / POOL / AFP

 

England midfielder Mount, who has been in outstanding form this season, was surprisingly left out against Wolves but was back in the starting line-up on Sunday.

Chelsea finally got the breakthrough their football deserved five minutes before the break after breaking at pace.

The ball was worked to Callum Hudson-Odoi on the right side of the Chelsea attack.

He cut inside and played a neat reverse ball into the path of Azpilicueta, who produced a thumping side-foot finish past Nick Pope after racing from deep in his own half.

Chelsea started the second half on the front foot, pinning the visitors back.

The luckless Werner, who has scored just once since November, headed straight at Pope before the lively Hudson-Odoi hit the post with a powerful defected shot.

Hudson-Odoi flashed a ball across the Burnley box before Mount tried his luck from distance.

Christian Pulisic, who came on at half-time to replace Tammy Abraham, mishit his shot after more good work from Hudson-Odoi before Pope saved with his legs from substitute Reece James.

But Chelsea had little to fear at the other end, especially after Burnley lost the physical presence of forward Chris Wood shortly after the hour mark.

Alonso, who had fallen out of favour under Lampard, sealed the three points six minutes from time when he controlled a Pulisic cross on his chest before lashing past Pope.

He kissed his Chelsea badge as the players celebrated a vital three points.

AFP

US Investors Acquire EPL Club Burnley

Burnley's Dutch defender Erik Pieters challenges Sheffield United's English defender George Baldock during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Sheffield United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on December 29, 2020. Barrington Coombs / POOL / AFP
Burnley’s Dutch defender Erik Pieters challenges Sheffield United’s English defender George Baldock during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Sheffield United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on December 29, 2020. Barrington Coombs / POOL / AFP

 

US investment group ALK Capital has completed its takeover of Burnley, acquiring a controlling 84 percent stake in the Premier League club, it was announced on Thursday.

Delaware-based ALK, which specialises in investments in the sport and media sectors, said its managing partner Alan Pace would take over from Mike Garlick as chairman.

Pace, the former president of Major League Soccer’s Real Salt Lake, said the move marked “the start of an exciting journey for the entire Clarets family”.

“With a rich heritage, a brilliant academy, and a passionate fan base, this club has solid foundations to build upon,” he said in a statement on the club’s website.

Garlick, who had held just under 50 percent of the club’s shares, will remain on ALK Capital’s new board of directors at Burnley.

He said the deal represented a “natural progression” for the club, who are in their fifth consecutive season in the English top-flight.

“In Alan Pace and his team, we are welcoming committed investors to Turf Moor who will be living here in the local community and investing in the club, both on and off the football pitch, for many years to come,” he said.

One of ALK’s first priorities is likely to be a meeting with Dyche, who can expect fresh financial support in the January transfer window.

The manager said after Tuesday’s victory over Sheffield United that he had no knowledge of the deal, but it is understood moves were already under way by the new ownership to bring him up to speed on their plans.

One result of the change in ownership could be an expansion of the club’s international scouting and transfer network.

Commenting on Tuesday on the likelihood of adding to his injury-reduced squad in the coming weeks, Dyche offered a cautious take.

“If there are things in the market we think we can align, we will. If there’s not, we’ll keep operating with the group we’ve got,” said the manager, who has been in charge at Turf Moor since 2012.

Burnley are 16th in the Premier League, five points above the relegation zone, and host 18th-placed Fulham on Sunday.

 

AFP